Last Spring, the first ChangeMakers events inspired students to realize their own changemaking potential, and that momentum continued with the 2nd ChangeMakers event in February, 2019, “Is College Bad For Your Brain: How an Epidemic of Stress is Overwhelming Students–and What You Can Do About It“.
Once again, Student Government stepped up to play a significant role in the development of the event, inspiring students to make positive change for themselves and their environment.
To complement the main stage event, student organizers came up with the idea of a Love ThySelf Week. This challenge week was based on the idea that the best antidote to stress is actions of self-care and self-love. Students were inspired to post their successes with new behaviors of good food, meditation, rest and exercise as a proactive strategy to create integration and balance.
The event kicked off with an Open Mic on the theme of self-love on February 2nd and climaxed with a post-even Open Mic celebration on February 9th.
The new Vision Board in the Student Lounge, created by Luna Pinder, was used for students to share their artwork, inspirations and quotes that celebrated these themes. Prizes were also awarded for the students who were most active in their postings.
In addition, event organizer Michael Sternfeld worked with a group of 5 student leaders to actually participate in the event.
These 5 students–Kirby Shields, Chevonne Height, Emily Mauntel, Kent Kachejian, and Chris Baluja–spoke on their experiences on a student panel at the event and also appeared in a video that underscored the effect of stress and their solutions for college students. Of special note, former Student Body President Chevonne Height made the opening event welcome, appeared on the student panel, and then was the subject of Professor Fred Travis’ live EEG demonstration.
To integrate students even further into the event, MUM student Haley Spitzfaden was invited to conduct one of the interview panels with experiential education expert Steve Langerud. Graduate student, Danny Hitchings was invited to conduct the interview with fellow veteran Dave Zobeck, who heads a meditation program at Norwich University, the nation’s oldest military academy.
Finally, MUM student Dylene Cymraes led an ever-popular World Cafe on Saturday afternoon after the event, in which students had a chance to interact on a more intimate level with the presenters from the Friday event. The World Cafe is a dynamic experiential format in which a particular question is explored. The question for this event was: How do we take full responsibility for creating a more balanced, centered life for ourselves and our greater community?
By engaging student participation, the ChangeMakers series–a joint venture between the David Lynch Foundation and MUM– continues to effect positive change both on campus and the World at Large.